Round Lake Park police say a chain of events that began with a package of marijuana delivered to the wrong address ultimately led them to 100 pounds of the drug and the arrests of four suspects who wanted to sell it.
Police Chief George Filenko said officers arrested three men who lived at an address in neighboring Round Lake. He said authorities seized the fourth man after learning he had helped himself to five of 20 pounds of marijuana that mistakenly wound up at his Round Lake Park home.
Police were dispatched at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 7, to a single-family home in the 300 block of North Clifton Drive, where Joseph R. Schmidt, 34, reported receiving the FedEx shipment with the pot. Officers took custody of the package and determined it contained about 15 pounds of individually bagged marijuana.
Narcotics and gang unit officers then started gathering intelligence and went to a vacated apartment in the 200 block of North Clifton Drive where it was believed the weed was supposed to be shipped. No one was found at the address.
"What we determined is the delivery numbers were inadvertently transposed," Filenko said.
On Monday, while the narcotics and gang officers were in a Shop with a Cop program for underprivileged children, they received information about a drug sale occurring in the 300 block of North Clifton, authorities said.
Filenko said the responding officers witnessed Schmidt in the transaction and in possession of one pound of marijuana. The chief said more pot was found in Schmidt's house and he admitted keeping five of the 20 pounds he had received by mistake.
Schmidt, who is free on 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, was charged with unlawful cannabis with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of cannabis.
After Round Lake Park police consulted with the Lake County state's attorney's gang and drug prosecution unit, a plan was developed to execute a search warrant at the home where they believed the intended recipients of the marijuana shipment were staying, Filenko said.
Uniformed officers brought a five-pound package of pot to a home in the 800 block of Park Street in Round Lake, authorities said. Filenko said a man who answered the door accepted the package from the cops after being told it had been sitting at police headquarters.
"I think it's a gift or something for you," Filenko quoted one officer as telling the suspect.
Armed with the search warrant, police soon entered the home and confiscated about 80 pounds of pot packaged for likely distribution, Filenko said. In all, police seized a combined 100 pounds of marijuana with an estimated $500,000 street value, he said.
Packaging material, scales, cash and a device typically used to seal clothing were taken from the house because they are consistent with drug sales, Filenko said.
Anelit Chavez-Morales, 25, Gabriel Orozco-Rivera, 38, and Joel Aguilar-Alberto, 41 -- all of the 800 block of Park in Round Lake -- were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and calculated drug conspiracy. Immigration and deportation holds have been placed on the three men, who remained in the Lake County jail Friday, each on 10 percent of a $250,000 bond.